Based on observation of the mass media’s political impact, this article analyzes the 1998 election campaign coverage by the main Brazilian TV news program, Jornal Nacional, broadcast by the Globo Network. A total of 72 different editions of the program were analyzed, identifying the weight allotted to various issues and the way they were framed within the news budget. Globo’s coverage prioritized the fait divers, while significant issues from the public agenda such as Brazil’s increasing unemployment, the drought in the Northeast, and even the election race itself were virtually ignored. Meanwhile, Globo treated the worsening economic situation essentially as the Administration itself did. The conclusion was that, based on the news budget and the focus given to stories, the news program objectively favored President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s candidacy for reelection. The bias identified in these data calls attention once again to the urgent need to review the media’s role in promoting political debate in Brazil.
mass media; elections; election campaign; reelection